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Danish businesses fear the worst as Johnson takes power in UK

Interest organizations representing Danish businesses have warned of the increased risk of a no-deal Brexit following Tuesday’s confirmation that Boris Johnson will be the new British prime minister.

Danish businesses fear the worst as Johnson takes power in UK
File photo: Henning Bagger / BAG / Ritzau Scanpix

Johnson will take over from Theresa May on Wednesday after winning 66 percent of the votes of around 160,000 Conservative Party members in the party’s leadership contest, thereby becoming the UK’s new leader.

He faces the task of seeing through the country’s exit from the European Union and has promised a “do or die” approach to leaving on the current scheduled date of October 31st.

READ ALSO: 'He looks like a man who slept in his car': What is the Danish media saying about Boris Johnson?

Two Danish business confederations, the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv, DE) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI) have both said the risk of a ‘no-deal’ scenario and its potential consequences for Danish companies will increase with Johnson in power.

“I must say that the selection of Boris Johnson makes it quite likely that this will all end with a hard [no-deal, ed.] Brexit. That will be expensive for the United Kingdom and the British and will most certainly also hit the profit margins of many Danish companies,” DE CEO Brian Mikkelsen said via a written comment.

“But we can, of course, hope that Boris Johnson will be a little more pragmatic when he, as the new leader, is faced by the realities (of Brexit),” Mikkelsen added.

The UK is one of Denmark’s largest export markets, meaning the impact of increased levies and paperwork on goods and services exported across the North Sea could be felt on both sales and jobs in Denmark.

That is likely to happen should the UK leave the EU without securing a trade agreement with the EU, as would be the case in a no-deal Brexit.

“We hope the UK will not leave the EU on October 31st without a deal. A so-called no-deal Brexit would be a Halloween nightmare which, unfortunately, could come true,” DI’s deputy director Peter Thagesen said in a written comment.

“The Confederation of Danish Industry is advising its members to prepare for the worst,” Thagesen added.

According to DI figures, Danish companies received 86 billion kroner for exports to the UK last year. The organization estimates that 65,000 Danish jobs are connected to UK exports.

Member comments

  1. A ‘no-deal’ Brexit does not mean one without a trade agreement. It means without a transitional period agreed upon from both sides while a trade agreement is being negiotated. At this stage, the House of Commons has rejected the transitional phase (including the fact that Northern Ireland and therefore the whole UK stays in the customs union for as long as the negotiations continue) by not accepting Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

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‘We’ve found a solution’: Denmark extends deadline for post-Brexit residency

The Danish government announced on Monday that British nationals, who had missed a previous deadline to secure their post-Brexit residency status, will now have until the end of 2023 to apply or resubmit their late application.

'We've found a solution': Denmark extends deadline for post-Brexit residency

After the UK left the EU, Britons resident in Denmark before the end of 2020 were required to apply to extend their residence status in Denmark and receive a Danish residence card under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

A significant number of British residents – at least 350, according to official figures released at the beginning of this year – did not apply before the original deadline of December 31st, 2021, however.

Many were subsequently given orders to leave Denmark and Danish immigration authorities came in for much criticism from rights groups representing Britons in Europe, who accused them of not correctly applying the rules of the Withdrawal Agreement.

But on Monday the Danish government announced that the initial deadline will now be extended until the end of 2023.

This extended deadline will apply to all British citizens who applied after the original deadline and whose applications were subsequently not processed.

Brits who had moved to Denmark before the end of 2020 but never submitted an application to extend their Danish residency after Brexit will also have until the end of this year to submit an application, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said.

A major complication with the original application deadline was an error relating to information letters sent out by the authority that processes the applications, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

The information letters, sent in 2020, were intended to inform all British nationals living in Denmark of the need to apply for their residence status in Denmark to be continued after Brexit. But an error at the agency resulted in most people who moved from the UK to Denmark in 2020 not receiving the information mails.

The Local has previously reported on individual Britons who faced having to leave homes, jobs and loved ones in Denmark over the issue.


“I am very pleased we have found this solution,” Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek said in the statement.

“It has always been the government’s intention to make it easy and smooth for resident British nationals to stay in Denmark. There are some people who didn’t apply on time and we want to give them an extra chance,” he said.

Mads Fuglede, immigration spokesperson with coalition partner the Liberals (Venstre), said that “In light of Brexit, we decided in parliament that it should not harm British residents of Denmark that the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU. I am therefore also pleased we have found a solution for the Britons who did not apply on time”.

All British residents of Denmark applying within the new deadline are still required to be eligible for ongoing residence in Denmark under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning they legally took up residence in Denmark under the EU’s free movement provisions prior to the UK’s exit from the EU. This does not represent any change to the rules under the earlier deadline.

British residents who must now submit applications by the new deadline should be aware of the distinction between an earlier application being rejected, with it not being processed.

In general, late applications under the old deadline were not processed, unless SIRI deemed there to be special circumstances justifying the late submission. In these cases, SIRI informed the applicant that their application could not be processed, citing the missed deadline as the reason for this.

Persons whose applications were processed but were rejected because they did not meet the criteria for ongoing residence under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be given the chance to reapply, the ministry said.

People who moved to Denmark after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st, 2020 are still subject to general Danish immigration rules for third-country nationals.

The deadline extension will require a legal amendment which will be sent into the hearing phase of parliamentary procedure “as soon as possible”, the ministry said in the statement.